There are times when you expect the least and receive the best of surprises. And sometimes such instances impact your life in a drastic manner, changing a lot about your perspective and you as a whole. Such an instance happened to me 3 years ago.
It all started when I was asked by team members of an Implementing agency, with whom I coordinated for our ground work, to accompany them to the Jamia Nagar Police Station in Delhi. I was first surprised, a POLICE STATION? They asked me to look into a project which they were executing and which made me wonder, what exactly would I witness in a police station? Perhaps some women cell, where I would meet distressed women needing assistance. But to my utter surprise, it was something completely different. As I entered the premises of the Jamia Police Station, I saw a Public library by the name of Delhi Police Public Library. A big question struck my mind, why would a police station have something like a public library inside its premises?
The answer was interesting enough, this library was a strategic initiative by the Delhi Police under ‘Community Policing’. It was a library, which was made for the common public, offering various programs for youth and girls, jointly run by the police and the implementing agency. Learning about this initiative, I started looking for analysing why the society needed Community Policing, what benefits would it receive through this program, how community policing would help, whom it would help and to what extend will it help?
It was a journey to work for the society through various social initiatives designed for women and youth, and as an individual committed towards serving the society, I joined in. My association with the police department enabled me to understand their point of view as well. So, the first thing I needed to understand was that why the society needed something like Community Policing?
Mr. Ajay Chaudhry, Joint C.P. of New Delhi, who actually was one of the brains behind this initiative, opened my visions further about Community Policing. I learnt about the challenges faced by the society, and how community policing could aid in tackling such issues. Few of the challenges what I can think of are:
- The first and foremost concern is ‘Socio-Economic condition’ of an individual and the society that revolved around the individual. When an individual is deprived, and having zero access to education, better life style or awareness about the world around him, gets inclined to or get involved with such malicious activities, where he believes that such involvement can make his socio-economic condition better. The best example I can think of is the issue of Naxalism, where for a better living perhaps, they rebel. In order to respond to this through Community policing, an initiative called ‘Amcho Bastar, Amcho Police’ was started in the Baster region of Chhattisgarh by Mr. Arif Sheikh, Superintendent of Police, Bastar. It resulted in the surrendering of 461 Maoists and reduction of Maoists incidents from 40 in 2016 to only 6 in 2017. He was felicitated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for this noble initiative.
- Radicalisation may be one of the other concerns. It initiates minds, hinders development of individuals and society at large, deteriorating unity and harmony. There have been incidents where people have considered their religious sentiments above law and order, resulting in breach of law and causing violence.
- Another area of concern which is seen in recent times is digitalisation. As beneficial it is for the society and economy, unfiltered content creates a trouble as well. Individual from various segments of the society come across unfiltered content on their phones, making them vulnerable for divergent thinking. Youth at times end up believing that everything seen across the internet is real. All these club together to result in rapes, thefts, murders, extortion and drug abuse.
Above are few of many concerns where community policing can work wonders. Considering the fact that every situation has a different way of handling, there shall be a different approach for every challenge. Talking about the challenges of this society, there is no fixed solution. For redressing the same, we need to study the ground situation and then consider devising the right mix of solution for the challenge, with the ultimate goal of empowering the individual and the society which can create a harmony between community and police.
Looking through the glass of Community Policing, I see a society intertwined with the police to prevent, eliminate and eradicate crimes, while empowering the underprivileged. Community Policing is the need of the hour, as it improves the ecosystems, which make a better society to live. In addition to these, it aids in quick identification and redressal of grievances and decreases the community-police conflicts.
In the coming years, I see that through these innovative programs, communities can try to overcome these challenges walking towards an empowered life, which will ultimately lead to a robust society with a stronger nation rising above all limitations.